Study protocol for an evaluation of the effectiveness of 'care bundles' as a means of improving hospital care and reducing hospital readmission for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
Chalder MJE., Wright CL., Morton KJP., Dixon P., Daykin AR., Jenkins S., Benger J., Calvert J., Shaw A., Metcalfe C., Hollingworth W., Purdy S.
© 2016 Chalder et al. Background: Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is one of the commonest respiratory diseases in the United Kingdom, accounting for 10 % of unplanned hospital admissions each year. Nearly a third of these admitted patients are re-admitted to hospital within 28 days of discharge. Whilst there is a move within the NHS to ensure that people with long-term conditions receive more co-ordinated care, there is little research evidence to support an optimum approach to this in COPD. This study aims to evaluate the effectiveness of introducing standardised packages of care i.e. care bundles, for patients with acute exacerbations of COPD as a means of improving hospital care and reducing re-admissions. Methods / Design: This mixed-methods evaluation will use a controlled before-and-after design to examine the effect of, and costs associated with, implementing care bundles for patients admitted to hospital with an acute exacerbation of COPD, compared with usual care. It will quantitatively measure a range of patient and organisational outcomes for two groups of hospitals - those who deliver care using COPD care bundles, and those who deliver care without the use of COPD care bundles. These care bundles may be provided for patients with COPD following admission, prior to discharge or at both points in the care pathway. The primary outcome will be re-admission to hospital within 28 days of discharge, although the study will additionally investigate a number of secondary outcomes including length of stay, total bed days, in-hospital mortality, costs of care and patient / carer experience. A series of nested qualitative case studies will explore in detail the context and process of care as well as the impact of COPD bundles on staff, patients and carers. Discussion: The results of the study will provide information about the effectiveness of care bundles as a way of managing in-hospital care for patients with an acute exacerbation of COPD. Given the number of unplanned hospital admissions for this patient group and their rate of subsequent re-admission, it is hoped that this evaluation will make a timely contribution to the evidence on care provision, to the benefit of patients, clinicians, managers and policy-makers. Trial registration: International Standard Randomised Controlled Trials - ISRCTN13022442- 11 February 2015